The Sheffield-born singer, songwriter and musician had smart bespoke suits made in shiny fabric by renowned Darnall-based tailor Colin Starsmore, helping to reinforce his image as a classic rock ‘n’ roll crooner.
Afterwards the garments stayed in Hawley’s wardrobe – but now they have found new homes after he donated them to a charity auction.
The suits were sold to fans as part of a fundraiser set up by Mike Pidgeon, a manager at Thornbridge Brewery who organised a series of successful charity gigs last year at The Greystones pub in aid of Cancer Research UK, Weston Park Hospital and St Luke's Hospice.
Mike was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in 2017 and has since recovered following surgery and extensive chemotherapy.
“The gigs were all really successful,” said Mike. “At the end of it I was chatting to Richard one day and he said ‘I’ll tell you what, to put some icing on the cake I’ve got a couple of suits that I wore for album covers – one for Coles Corner, and the other for Lady’s Bridge. If you want them, you can have them and auction them off’.”
The auction, held under the banner Music Against Cancer, ran for much of December.
“We got a flurry of bids on about the 31st,” Mike said.
“We sold the two suits and raised £1,300 for each, which took my tally for the whole fundraiser to £16,000, which was far more than I thought it was going to do.”
All of the proceeds will again go to CRUK, Weston Park and St Luke’s.
Hawley will present the two-piece suits to the buyers in person, along with signed copies of the albums which were both named after historic Sheffield locations.
Thornbridge chief executive Simon Webster purchased the suit featured on the cover of Coles Corner, Hawley’s third LP, which was released in 2005 and shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize.
“He’s a big fan,” said Mike, who joined Thornbridge ten years ago to manage the opening of The Greystones. “He’s given us the money for the suit, and then we’re going to frame it and put it up in The Greystones.”
A fan in Spain bidded successfully for the outfit Hawley wore on the sleeve of his 2007 release Lady’s Bridge.
“She’s going to fly over one weekend to meet Richard,” Mike said. “She said the album meant a lot to her.”
Her feelings were echoed by others, he added.
“It’s interesting, the number of people who put in bids who said Coles Corner was a great sentimental album for themselves and their partner, and all this sort of stuff. There’s an awful lot of sentimentality attached to those two albums particularly.”
Mike, 65, is married to wife Christine and has a teenage daughter, Rebecca. He said the Music Against Cancer fundraiser represented his effort to ‘give something back’.
“It tugged a lot of heartstrings, there were quite a few emails from people saying they’d lost loved ones to cancer and wanted to make a donation. I’ve recovered as much as I’m ever going to. I’m not the man I was three years ago, put it that way – but a lot of people aren't here. You suddenly become aware of how devastating and widespread cancer is as an illness once you get it. Going to hospital, and going through all the chemotherapy, I came across a lot of people far younger than me with their whole lives ahead of them and it’s just been taken away.”